Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm an alien in Abu Dhabi

For me travelling is all about learning to understand the world better. Different cultures and languages can provide so much insight into how different people approach life. Yet sometimes the angles from which different people view the world can be so foreign that it becomes hard to absorb.

It's also interesting how it is always the little things in life and not the big things that make the most difference. In my relationship with Mohammed we could respect each other's spiritual and cultural differences but the little things got us into such a tangle that we eventually had to realise love is not enough of a foundation to build a life on.

Things that I never thought twice about became the focus of very different opinions. I thought I could learn something, that this relationship could help me grow and help to make a small difference in reconciling the hostility between different religions. However, things are much more complicated than they seem to be at face value.

Although we may all be more the same than we are different our differences can also create such vast spaces between us that they become near impossible to cross. It's easy to say anything for love but when it comes down to actually making that change it's a whole different story.

I happened upon this scene of a traditional Arabic couple at the Heritage Village on the beach in Abu Dhabi, only one hour's drive from Dubai. Somehow it made me feel sad to see them sitting there fully covered and unable to feel the sun and the sand and the sea water on their skin. Since then I haven't been able to shake this uncomfortable feeling.

It's hard for me to understand 'not doing' as I choose to 'do' - and try and make mistakes and then try something else; to learn and to live life to the full. As someone who has been able to make sense out of many crazy life experiences, this completely normal local custom still leaves me baffled and confused.

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